(Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot are alone at the command console and arguing furiously.)

tom terrific

TOM: You can't call a solo artist a band! A band is "a group of musicians playing together." A group! Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition! Read it and weep, pinkboy! And a solo artist is not that thing! I don't care how many instruments he or she plays!

CROW: Yeah? Well, it also says, comma, "...especially on string and woodwind instruments." So I guess by your definition the only "band" out there is Lawrence Welk's!

JOEL ROBINSON: (sotto voce, leaning into frame in ECU as 'bots mutter in BG) Hi, welcome to the Satellite Of Love. My 'bots have been listening to community radio again, which means they've gotten into another fight over musical categorization. Last week it was which industrial bands aren't really industrial. This week it's which bands aren't really bands. Let's listen. (leaves frame)

CROW: What about Mouth Music then, huh? What would the great Tom Servo call them, huh?

TOM: They're a singing group, not a band. Yes, they use their voices to emulate the sounds of various musical instruments, but the fact remains that those are their voices, and you don't play your voice! They're no more a band than are the Singing Sergeants!

CROW: Okaaaaay...what about Pigface?

TOM: Oooooh, tricky one! Well, I'd say that's a "band" during its various touring incarnations, but seeing as how Martin Atkins is the only permanent member, I'd have to rule them out under any other circumstances.

CROW: Well, what about TimBuk3? What would you call them?

TOM: Easy -- they're a duo with beatbox accompaniment. But not a band. Unless you wanna get reeeeeeeeally technical about it.

that's ONE 'o'!

CROW: (muttering) Too late.

JOEL: (back in frame, still whispering as 'bots continue to argue) You can have a lot of laughs at the expense of deeply insecure people and their irrational loyalties to the unwritten codes and apocryphal inherited wisdom of a marginalized subculture. But the truth is, a professional intervention may be your safest and most humane option. Think about it, won't you? (speaking out loud to Servo) Well, Tom, what would you call Alvin and the Chipmunks with David Seville -- four distinct machine-manipulated voices, all of which belonged to Ross Bagdasarian?

TOM: I'd call that...one sad, strange little man.

CROW: Killjoy.

[Deep 13 call light flashes]
JOEL: Oh, look sharp, spudboys, Danny Flesher and Jim Nash are calling.

[INT DEEP 13.]
(Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank are standing behind the master control panel, which has a new peripheral attached -- a sinister-looking black device roughly the size and shape of a double-deck VCR with a series of menacing red lights running across its face. The box makes low-key yet terrifying disk-drive grinding noises as Dr. F speaks.)

DR. F: Hello there, Black Randy. While you and the Metrosquad have been bandying semantics, Frank and I have been applying ourselves to the hard work of mad science.

FRANK: It's a dirty job...but somebody gets to do it.

DR. F: Exactly. And I think you'll love what we've come up with this week. Presenting...the Misery-Miser. (Continues his pitch as Frank vamps device à la Dian Parkinson.) Using a complex series of algorithms written especially for this purpose, we've managed to compress all the deep hurting one normally would have to spend two hours with a Lippert movie to experience into a five-minute music video suitable for stress rotation on MTV.

hello, joker

FRANK: And with no appreciable signal loss!

DR. F: Say your prayers, Utah Saints! I give you Trent Reznor -- and a little Cowtown puppet show he calls Nine Inch Nails. Hammer it home, Frank!

(Buzzer and lights)


[Door sequence: 6...5...4...3...2...1...]

[flashing aurora-borealis lighting]
TOM: (hums "The Blue Danube Waltz")
JOEL: Star Trek: The Motion Picture!
CROW: Where Nomad has gone before.

[flickering picture of tribal dancer]
CROW: Jiggle the antenna! Put it on channel three!

[Martin Atkins and Chris Vrenna playing drums back-to-back]
TOM: "Women -- beat -- their men... the men -- beat on -- the drums...."

["god money, i'll do anything for you...."]
TOM: Anything? Will you use a normal frame rate?

[mechanical head]
JOEL: I am Reznor of Borg. Resistance is futile.

[tribal dancer spinning his, uh, staff]
CROW: "...but with the grace of God and this crooked stick --"
JOEL: Stop it, Crow.

[Trent in dreads]
JOEL: The Land O'Lakes girl? No!
CROW: Hey, you know, if you fold the box a certain way --
JOEL: (holding his beak shut) Don't. I'm warning you.
TOM: (Chuck Heston voice) A planet where...these guys evolved from men?!

pail as death

[Trent gets bucket dumped on head]
TOM: It's sock-it-to-me time!
CROW: (JoAnn Worley voice) Was that a chicken joke?
JOEL: "Alpha children all wear grey...."

[Martin Atkins and his symmetrical image]
TOM: Huey Lewis?
CROW: They do that with mirrors, ya know.

[head with white lines painted on it]
CROW: Smooth Noodle Maps!
TOM: ...And here you can see there's a deep low-pressure trough coming into the northwest eye. Those tightly packed isobars mean the southern lip is in for quite a wallop -- so those of you who live in the flood plain will want to remember the three P's: pets, plants, and pipes.
CROW: (to Joel) Hey, he said Flood! Get it?

[two tribal dancers]
JOEL: Look, it's David Byrne's home movies!
TOM: I love these PBS specials.
CROW: *gasp* American Bandstand! Now I can learn how to swing like the popular kids!

[Trent and Richard Patrick]
JOEL: Max Dreadroom...twenty minutes into the future.
TOM: Jim Henson's WaxTrax Babies!
CROW: I thought this was TVT.
TOM: Same difference, these days.

tape head

[Trent dunks his head in bucket]
CROW: (Walter Matthau voice) Again with the bucket!

[SMPTE Universal Leader insert and "picture" frame]
CROW: Did that say this was a Universal Pictures release?
JOEL: I dunno, but all of a sudden I'm feeling really hungry for popcorn....

[Trent dunks his head in bucket again]
JOEL: It must have been fraternity hell week or something.
TOM: Oh...Phi Gamma Delta?
JOEL: More like Tappa Kegga Day.

[Trent doubled over mic stand]
TOM: Oh, jeez, right in the store!
CROW: That last six-pack must hurt right about now.

[series of rapid-fire cuts]
JOEL: They got someone with attention deficit disorder to edit this video.
TOM: I hear it gives Jimmy Stewart flashbacks to his Vertigo days.

[magnetic tape all over everything]
JOEL: Blockbuster Video...The Day After.
CROW: Welcome to the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library. Sorry about the mess, we're just, ah...getting rid of some old junk.

[Trent dunks his head in bucket in a full-frame shot]
TOM: How many times are we going to be treated to this scene? What is this, Robot Monster all of a sudden?
CROW: Okay, Joel, what's in the bucket that he can't keep his face out of it?
JOEL: Well...I don't know.
CROW: (pause) You do know, don't you?
JOEL: No, I don't. I really don't.
CROW: (to Tom) He does. I know he does. I can tell.

[final chorus]
JOEL: (mom voice) Hey, have you boys been into your dad's tools again?
TOM: This looks like an early Police video, only...not as good.
CROW: This looks like a police video, all right...except the police are missing. Someone call 'em.

what do you see?

[weird lighting, general mayhem]
TOM: "When Gallagher Ran MTV."
JOEL: You know, that tape there came from Skinny Puppy clips that didn't make it onto 120 Minutes.
TOM: You mean, like, all of them?
JOEL: Yep. Pretty much.
CROW: I'm thinkin' what this guy deserves is to be strung up by his ankl...oh, I got my wish!

[Trent hanging upside-down from ceiling]
TOM: One flew over the cuckoo's nest.
JOEL: "Hey, I can see my house from here!"
CROW: Why can't you be more like him, Joel?

[Atkins throws floor tom]
TOM: ...and it's complete, for nine yards and a first down!
JOEL AND CROW: (cheering noise)

[Trent still hanging from ceiling]
JOEL: Okay, we get it....
TOM: It was funny the first time, all right?

[head with pleated hoses in back]
CROW: Guess he's in Tubeway Army, huh?
TOM: Reznor Industrial Heaters, Mercer, Pennsylvania.
JOEL: Gypsy? Is that you, girl?

hole in your...

JOEL: Head. Hole. Head. Ho...oh, yeah. I understand now.
CROW: It all makes sense...and I still don't care.
TOM: Me neither. Let's get out of here.

[Reverse door sequence: 1...2...3...4...5...6...]


MAGIC VOICE: (cranking it up, TeXXas Jam announcer style) Awriiight, Ashwaubenon! Let's hear it for the baaand! Mephisto, Beelzebub, Loki, and Pitch!

(Joel and the 'bots race onto the bridge as Cambot synthesizes the sound of a stadium crowd going wild. All are wearing their black bouffant Susan wigs from "Attack of the Eye Creatures," which have been watered down and twisted into dreadlocks -- except Gypsy, who has a string mop on her head and is carrying a bucket in her mouth. Joel is holding his Rock'N'Wreck Guitar, with which he proceeds to hammer the front panel as Crow jostles Gypsy and Tom tries to kick the call lights off the desk with his hoverskirt. Joel throws down his guitar and shoves Tom to the other end of the console, then tears off Crow's left arm and fetches Tom a solid whack to the head with it. Both 'bots fall to the deck in the cybernetic equivalent of traumatic shock. The bridge falls silent. Joel surveys the wreckage, crestfallen, then looks into the screen.)

JOEL: Whaddaya think, sirs?
(Gypsy drops the bucket with a clatter.)

[INT DEEP 13.]
(Frank is standing alone next to the Misery-Miser, watching it with an anxious expression on his face. The volume and intensity of the sinister noises have risen to an alarming level, and the red lights are pulsing steadily in unison. Dr. F. wanders in fr om the lift area.)

DR. F: Well, my little MIDI .mods, what do you have to...Frank, what's going on in here?
FRANK: It's the machine. It won't stop.
DR. F: What do you mean, it won't...you mean it hasn't finished running the program yet?
FRANK: No. I mean, I thought it had, but it started back up, and now it just keeps grinding and grinding and grinding and...I'm scared, Clay!
DR. F: Shut up, Frank! This is all your fault!

(The noise from the black box is nearly drowning out the Mads' voices by now. Abruptly, the din winds down to a fading hum and finally stops altogether. The red lights glow steadily for a long moment, then wink out. As the evil overlords watch in horror, the machine politely ejects a 3/4" broadcast video tape from its top deck.)

DR. F: (chuckling nervously) You see, Frank? It's trying to be friendly. Pick up the tape, why don't you, hmmmmm?
FRANK: (transfixed) I'm not gonna pick up the tape.
DR. F: Just do it, Frank.
FRANK: I'm not gonna pick up the tape.
DR. F: Pick up the tape!
FRANK: I'm not gonna pick up the tape!

(Dr. F. pounces on the cassette, grabbing it with both hands as if to immobilize it. He turns it over to read the label, a quizzical expression replacing his look of fear.)
DR. F: "Hey Man, Nice Shot"?...
FRANK: Never heard of it.
DR. F: (hands the tape to Frank) Throw it on the pile, then. Maybe in a few years it'll be worth something. (To the SOL crew) Until then, Renegade Soundwave.... Push the button, Frank.
FRANK: Oh, you mean this one?

(Frank, curious and numbwitted as ever, has slipped the tape into the Misery-Miser's playthrough slot. He is poised to press START when Dr. F sees what he's up to.)


(Dr. F tackles Frank hard, sending them both crashing to the floor. A disembodied hand with the sleeve of a green labcoat just visible at the wrist gropes its way up over the control panel and pushes the button.)




you have 
been watching...
Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters and
situations are © Best Brains Inc. Nine Inch Nails is ©
Nothing/TVT/Interscope Records. "head like a hole" is
© TVT Records. All rights reserved. All slights deserved.
Offer not available in Utah. Authors not responsible
for nerve damage. Prices subject to whim. Buy Bonds.
Drive friendly. Get lost. It's a joke. Thank you.

-- kt and steph nahas

push the button, frank

hope and vaseline -- hnv@nin.net